Keynoting on Purpose, Strategy, and Pedagogy

I had the honor of being invited to deliver the keynote talk, and to lead a workshop, at the University of Wisconsin System’s Faculty College from May 30-June 2. This event is an annual gathering of faculty engaged in the scholarship of teaching and learning from almost every UW campus. For three-plus days we engaged in wonderful discussions, workshops, and informal conversations on teaching and learning. In these fraught times for higher education, it was remarkably energizing to be with this group of dedicated practitioners. I got see the passion and creativity with which they approach our work with and among students, and I’m grateful to have been invited to participate in the week’s events. Continue reading “Keynoting on Purpose, Strategy, and Pedagogy”

The Process IS the Outcome

At the midpoint of the academic year, many minds on campus turn towards assessment. And as they do, many other minds turn towards complaining about assessment. In turn, the poor suffering souls who serve on university assessment committees sigh deeply, say goodbye to family and friends, and trudge down the road to martyrdom. At least, this is the way it usually goes, more so when you allow a group of academics the opportunity to kvetch about it; to hear us talk,you’d think that we’re being asked to eat puppies while listening to Ted Cruz sing power ballads. Continue reading “The Process IS the Outcome”

Reclaiming Our Turf with Assessment (Really!)

This summer, I’ve spent a good amount of time grappling with the issues that are so significantly reshaping the landscape of higher education. I’ve used this space to share some of my preliminary thoughts in the wake of the governance, tenure, and funding debacle in Wisconsin; and one of the points I seized on there has continued to work its way around in my head, prompting both frustration and reflection. In criticizing what I see as the neoliberal assault on US higher education, I concluded that we in the academic community may be able to temporarily defend ourselves, but cannot ultimately prevail, if we accept the neoliberals’ terms of debate, and accede to their methods of measuring efficacy. The problem I ran into was in defining an alternative–how do we in academe push back against the narratives of crisis, disruption, inefficiency, and the imperative for “reform” that have come to characterize higher education in our public discourse?
Continue reading “Reclaiming Our Turf with Assessment (Really!)”